The latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic for April 28, 2020

FOX 5 NY is updating this blog with the latest developments on the coronavirus outbreak so you can get the information in one spot.

9:35 PM: California Gov. Gavin Newsom says schools could reopen in late July.

9:20 PM: The Federal Bureau of Prisons begins releasing hundreds of inmates to home confinement.

9:10 PM: Vice President Mike Pence didn't wear a mask while touring the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, which is an apparent violation of its policy.

9:00 PM: Costco says some of its locations will require customers to wear face masks depending on the rules of the states and/or local jurisdictions.

7:30 PM: Connecticut begins rolling out a plan for voluntary contact tracing; officials say it is a key part of the effort to reopen the economy.

6:30 PM: Business groups want Congress to limit the liability that companies would face from potential lawsuits connected to the pandemic.

5:49 PM: Major League Baseball is considering at least several options for salvaging at least part of the season; one plan involves splitting the 30 teams into regional divisions and doing away with the traditional AL and NL.

4:32 PM: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says the fact that someone named "Tupac Shakur" filed a claim for unemployment benefits shows that people playing pranks are slowing down the process; but turns out that Tupac Malik Shakur is an actual resident of Kentucky who lost his job because of the pandemic.

4:25 PM: President Donald Trump says he will sign an executive order meant to stave off a shortage of chicken, pork and other meat on American supermarket shelves.

4:17 PM: Pfizer, the world's biggest prescription drugmaker, said the COVID-19 pandemic will reduce its second-quarter sales.

4:12 PM: Officials say that more than 50 people who voted in person or worked the polls during Wisconsin's election earlier this month have tested positive for COVID-19 so far.

4:10 PM: A coronavirus outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home in central Massachusetts kills at least 66 residents; many more are sick.

4:05 PM: A scholar of nonprofit management writes about the 3 best ways Americans can help during the pandemic.

4:00 PM: Minnesota officials say 301 people have now died from COVID-19; the state has 4,181 positive cases.

3:52 PM: Montana, Vermont and Alaska, which are largely rural states, are the quickes to reopen.

3:50 PM: New Zealand and Australia appear to have virtually defeated the virus.

3:48 PM: France and Spain are laying out separate roadmaps for lifting their lockdowns.

3:35 PM: Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott says that a hospital network estimates that 35 people may have died during the pandemic because their cardiac surgeries weren't performed.

3:27 PM: 750 inmates at seven Tennessee prisons have tested positive after testing was ramped up.

2:48 PM:  President Donald Trump says states should “seriously consider” reopening their public schools before the end of the academic year, even though dozens already have said it would be unsafe for students to return until the summer or fall.

Trump made the comments Monday in a call with governors discussing how to reopen their economies, among other topics.

“Some of you might start thinking about school openings, because a lot of people are wanting to have the school openings. It’s not a big subject, young children have done very well in this disaster that we’ve all gone through," he said. While addressing Vice President Mike Pence, Trump added that it's something "they can seriously consider, and maybe get going on.”


2:28 PM:  In a country that claims to be the real birthplace of the finger food that Americans have the temerity to call French fries, rescuing the potato industry might easily be a matter of Belgian national pride.

So while a coronavirus lockdown keeps restaurants, bars and many of Belgium's 5,000 frites stands closed, the trade association for the national potato industry is calling on the population at large to do its part by keeping deep fryers fired up on the home front.

“Traditionally, Belgians eat fries once a week, and it’s always a festive moment,” Romain Cools, the Belgapom secretary general, said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “Now, we are asking them to eat frozen fries twice a week at home.”


2:10 PM: Murphy: Keep doing what you're doing. Thank you all. God bless you all.

2:05 PM: Murphy asked about a state official who resigned . Also, he was asked about ballots delayed in mailing out. 

Murphy: I've got no more insights into that or the mail-in ballots. We will follow up with you.

2:02 PM: Murphy asked about penalties for large gatherings. Are police issuing tickets today? What's the distinction between the numbers NJ gives out and active cases?

Murphy: I worry about anybody congregating. As for the first meeting of the commission, it will be very soon.

NJSP Pat Callahan: Our posture is description as long as they are social distancing. It's that balance of ineteracting with 100-200 people, as long as they are doing it with social distancing in mind.

1:56 PM: Murphy asked, when will the state designate more places for isolation. Persichilli asked, what are you findings on long-term facilities. Murphy, how do you feel about the protest to reopen the state.

Murphy: On the protesters, I don't begrudge anyone's right to protest. I really wish they would do it at home. I hope they're not making each other sick. This notion of fascism is ridiculous. This is a question of saving lives. We love our state. This is the greatest nation in the world. We are trying to keep as many people alive as we can.

Persichillil: We are identifying areas where people can isolate. We're looking at the field stations as potential areas. On the longterm care, we identified 16 longterm care facilities. We tested 4,000 residents and employees. 92 percent results are in. We should have all later this week. More to come on that.

1:54 PM: Murphy asked about Barnes and Noble's employees asking him to shut down one of its warehouses. He was also asked about reopening golf courses like NY did.

Murphy: That's the first I'm hearing. We will look at that. Golf courses are on the list of things we look at regularly.

State official: We want as many people home as possible. 

1:50 PM: Murphy asked if he could envision shutting things down again.

Murphy: Yes, but I hope we don't have to.

Dr. Christina Tan, State Epidemiologist: We've seen decreases in the northern region but we are seeing increases in Central and Southern regions. We have to look at the whole area. 

1:45 PM: Murphy says why not allow more stores to allow people to shop while wearing face masks? Also, he's asked why not allow beaches and more parks to open including golf courses. What are you going to do to help nail salons and tattoo parlors social distance? Talk about the commission deciding what opens?

Murphy: Weather is getting better. We accept that and it's also true is that we have some good trends if you look at that heat map. But we don't have an end zone. Those southern counties were hit later. But they are following a similar pattern.  We're not there yet.

1:44 PM: Murphy: We are here tomorrow at 1 pm. That may shift as the week goes on.

1:42 PM: Murphy: If you look at new cases, they are from Passaic, Middlesex and Hudson counties.

1:39 PM: Persichilli: Hospitals in the central region say their hospital beds were full last night. 2,887 new cases bringing the total to 113,856 cases in the state. 402 new deaths. White 52.4 percent, black 20.3 percent, Hispanic 16.7 percent, Asian 5.2 percent and other 5.3 percent. There are 484 longterm care facilities in the state reporting at lease one COVID case. 

1:38 PM: Persichilli: If you are struggling mentally call 866-202-4357 or text 741-741 and enter NJ.

1:35 PM: NJ Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli: the CDC updated the possible symptoms of coronavirus to include chills, shaking, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and loss of taste or smell. In addition to fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. 


1:32 PM: Murphy: I want to thank the US Navy Blue Angels and US Air Force Thunderbirds for flying across the state today.

1:31 PM: Murphy shouts out 'Meals for Heroes' for distributing meals to hospitals and nursing homes. Murphy: New Jersey thanks you. 

1:24 PM: Murphy announces members of Governor's Restart and Recovery Commission. Murphy: The commission will work to build a New Jersey that is stronger and fairer.

1:21 PM: Murphy: We must restart our economy with purely New Jersey solutions. 

1:18 PM: Murphy: I am signing an executive order that will extend municipalities property tax payments until June 1.

1:17 PM: Watch NJ Gov. Phil Murphy's coronavirus briefing. Watch LIVE:

1:15 PM: NJ Gov. Phil Murphy says 402 people died yesterday across the state. That number is higher than New York's death count for the same period which was 335.


1:05 PM: Cuomo asked about lack of guidance in Glenns Falls resuming elective surgeries.

Cuomo: Nope. That's the Capital District Region. Some parts of the state we worry about a capacity issue. We don't want a situation where they can't take patients because they are filled with elective surgeries.

Health official: New guidance will be going out this week about elective surgeries.

1:04 PM: Cuomo asked about how reopening private colleges and universities will work.

Cuomo: I don't know. I can't see into September. We have a long way before here and September.

1:03 PM: Cuomo asked about President Trump saying states should open schools.

Cuomo: When you are talking with the governors you are talking to 50 states with 50 different problems. It makes sense for some states. I don't know how you reopen businesses without reopening schools. We will have a decision on schools at the end of this week and on summer schools.

1:01 PM: Cuomo: Some regions might meet the CDC guidelines and they can have a reopening plan. We came up with 12 steps that are a reopening plan with metrics and data. Regions that in two weeks have reduced rates by the CDC guidelines these are the reopeing plans.

12:56 PM: Cuomo asked about unemployment backlog.

Cuomo: It's not a New York problem it's a nationwide problem. We have 3,000 people to man phones and the website. Yes, its frustrating as heck. Good news, is you will get the check for the same period of time.

Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo aid: We are down to 400k outstanding claims. They will get the pay back to the first day that they do it. We are doing everything we can to resolve the problem.

12:53 PM: Cuomo asked about the concept of attractive nuisance. Central NY in the summer is an attractive nuisance.

Cuomo: These things can't be done unless its done statewide. People will get in the car and drive somewhere. If you open the state fair this year you will have the highest attendance ever.  Beaches, parks, would have to be statewide. Density is the problem. 

12:50 PM: Cuomo: The New York Daily News ran a front page story about the subway. The picture is a subway car with a homeless man filled with his own belongings. Repsect essential workers. Its disrespectful to the essential workers who need to ride the subway system. We have to have a public transportation system that is clean.

12:49 PM: Watch NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo's briefing live at this link:

12:48 PM: Cuomo: My grandfather gave away food during the Depression. He wouldn't let anyone go hungry. He was giving away so much food that he had problems paying his bills. He had a heart attack. No one told him to do that. That was his values. I asked him, why? He would say what was I going to do, let them go hungry?

12:44 PM: Cuomo: My worst fear was if New Yorkers said we're not doing it. The most disruptive government policies put in place ever. Governmentally, I had no ability to enforce 19 million people to stay in their homes. That's why communication was so important. Second nightmare, what if the essential workers don't show? That could have happened. I went through the HIV virus. People were petrified. They showed up out of their honor and out of their dignity.

12:40 PM: Cuomo: The virus was in China last November and December. Why didn't anyone think the virus could get on a plane and into New York. We got it through Europe. Where was the whole international health community? Where was the whole national health experts? Governors don't do global pandemics. Where was the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal?

12:39 PM: Cuomo: Projections said 120,000 people hospitalized. We were 20,000 hospitalized at the height. We literally saved lives. We can't now negate everything we have accomplished. 

12:35 PM: Cuomo: Businesses have to adopt new measures. 30 percent of ICU beds must be available if the number ticks up. We have prioritize the people who get tested. You have to have the right number of testing sites. The regional control room is where you monitor all those people and how businesses are complying. It has an emergency switch if any one of those indicators is problematic.

12:30 PM: Cuomo: The first point, the CDC set guidelines as to reopening. We think those guidelines make sense. You have to have a 14-day decline in the number of hospitalizations before you can go forward. Phase 1- construction and manufacturing. Tell us how you are going to incorporate social distancing. How do you have the right ppe? How do you monitor? That's for businesses to decide. Healthcare capacity cannot go over 70 percent. Anticipate flu season. Stockpile the equipment. What is your testing regimen? Do we have a tracing system in place? Mayor Bloomberg is helping us do that. You need 30 tracers for every 100K people. Do you have isolation facilities? We have to coordinate regionally. Reimagine telemedicine. Reimagine tele-education. Protect essential workers.

12:23 PM: Cuomo: Total hospitalization rate is down a tick. Number of intubations is also down. COVID hospitalizations per day, newly diagnosed, is under 1,000 which is good news. It's still a significant number of people. This is the worst news every day, 335 people passed away yesterday in this state. This number is basically reducing but not at a tremendous rate.

12:21 PM: Cuomo: We're in Syracuse at the State University of New York. 

12:20 PM: Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds coronavirus briefing.

11:15 AM: De Blasio ends briefing by saying that the city owes it to New Yorkers to come back strong. "We are going to build you the foundation."

11:04 AM: De Blasio asked how summer school will play out and how the city will determine who will go. Also, he was asked about hotel rooms that city is not using for people need to take shelter.

De Blasio: Online learning has changed the whole reality. One thing it is good for it is very flexible. It's an option they can go much more deeply into since they're spending so much time inside. We don't know exactly what summer looks like. Some kids will engage summer learning because they don't have much more to do.

Carranza: It's more of a continuum. Every grade level, there is a body of language that they have completed classwork for that level.

De Blasio: We are adding another 1,000 hotels this week. It's based on the needs we are seeing. 

11:02 AM: De Blasio: I remember saying if we did not get the authority of testing from federal officials are city was in danger. We had a chance to contain it if we could see it. We could see it with testing but we did not have testing. Even this morning I still do not have the cooperation from the federal government. 

10:58 AM: De Blasio asked about possible rent strike.

De Blasio: A rent strike is not the answer, Relief for renters is. The state has the power to take other actions. And create a payment plan system and tighten up anti-eviction rules during the crisis and 60 days after.

10:55 AM: De Blasio asked about cuts to the affordable housing program and how many units it would affect.

De Blasio: The big question will be the federal stimulus and what that will mean for everything. That stimulus could be a life saver for us.

10:52 AM: De Blasio asked about adding Staten Island hospitals in private hospital daily report.

De Blasio: The date related to the H&H System is the date most consistent and available to us for a daily tracking system. This is a city-wide indicator.

10:49 AM: De Blasio asked about student just getting an iPad this week and what kind of grade that student would get. 

Carranza: We will not penalize students for circumstances out if their control. We will be putting forth some guidance in the coming weeks. 'In progress' classification conotes that these are the students that we have to engage in a rigorous assessment 

10:47 AM: De Blasio asked about underground yeshivas and how city is investigating.

De Blasio: I have made it clear that is unacceptable. And, for any faith, no gatherings. Someone give me an address. Call 311.

10:44 AM: De Blasio asked about students want to blow off steam after graduation and pull off pranks:
De Blasio: I'm not getting the impression that young people have missed what a difficult moment this is.

10: 35 AM: De Blasio asked if he is taking responsibility for the homeless problem on the subways.

De Blasio: The more affordable housing the better off you'll be fighting homelessness. More and more its families. When it comes to street homelessness, it's a few thousand people, that has always been about the outreach effort. We need the MTA police to be the eyes and ears. We have 10 key stations. At the end points is where we have problems. The people going all the way and back and forth, we have to disrupt the pattern. I want to close those stations overnight and deep clean them. We want everyone out of those stations. This will be a game-changer. The MTA needs to say yes.

10:33 AM: De Blasio asked about antibody testing and who will be tested.

De Blasio: I have been having conversations with the federal government. My hope is that we'll have something more tangible to say in the few days. 

10:30 AM: De Blasio asked about what support is being given to students

De Blasio: We are working on the shape of summer and what it will be. The DOE will have more than one contingency ready. 

Carranza: The grading policy and the flexibility will apply to all students including those with IEPs. There are multiple scenarios as to what summer school will look like. This grading policy will give us the opportunity to identify the students who need more support, enrichment. The goal here is not to fail students. It's to have them master the subject matter.

10:24 AM: De Blasio asked about 300 parents on a Zoom meeting who were opposed to the proposal for new grading. They want the lowest grade dropped. Also, will snow days exist?

De Blasio: Once we broke out of the traditional model of going to a school building, everything changed. When we come back in the future, the concept of snow days will exist.  This proposal is acknowledging how disruptive this is for kids. 

Carranza: Three quarters of the school year were in the books when we switched to remote learning.  The new policies are aligned to what CUNY does.

10:19 AM: NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza: I want to take a moment to thank the teachers and principals. School has been in session, what has changed is the manner we have engaged with our students. It has been remotely. I fully support this new policy.  

10:18 AM: Chancellor, what you have done has been pretty miraculous. I know we are going to have an outstanding school year next year.

10:14 AM: De Blasio: To all students and young people. You are going through a lot. The times we are living in are unprecedented. We have to support you. The love we all feel for you has to come out as support and understanding. 

10:13 AM: De Blasio: Today a good day. Indicator one. People admitted to hospital down to 112. Indicator two: daily in ICUs down to 745. Indicator three: people who tested positive down to 27 percent. The only category that went up one percent  is the public health lab to 56 percent.

10:08 AM: De Blasio: The brunt is being born by small business. The paycheck protection program, we saw how quickly it was used up and now there is another round. The program is replenished with $310 billion. Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez fought for all that money. First come, first serve. Apply immediately, visit You will be able to call 311 to give you help to navigate the application. If you haven't yet, get that application ready. Call 311 this afternoon.

10:05 AM: De Blasio: We said that for every single child they would get that delivery by the end of April. 247,000 iPads arrived at the home of students or are in the process of arriving. If you still haven't, call 311. Even if you call today, tomorrow or a week from now. The iPads are internet equipped. This is going to supercharge the online learning.

10:02 AM: De Blasio: To high school seniors and their parents, we are going to be there for you. You are the future of New York City. We are going to be there for you. We are going to celebrate you. Every school will have its own approach. Right now, it will be virtual. We are going to bring together some very special guests to salute you. Some of those people will be graduates themselves. 

9:59 AM: De Blasio: High School. Use existing grading standards. Students will have until January 2021 to complete coursework.

9:57 AM: De Blasio: Middle School. Instead of traditional grades: meets standard, needs improvement, course in progress. An evaluation, remote class discussions, etc. those will all contribute to the evaluation. Students who don't meet evaluation standards will be enrolled in summer school.

9:55 AM: De Blasio: We don't have to see the same boundary. We are going to help children into the fall. Those who need the most support will get the most help. Anyone, any child who needs extra help with have July and August as well. 

9:53 AM: De Blasio: Today we are announcing a new grading policy. We owe our kids flexibility. We have to prepare them and continue to have high expectations. We have to do both: be flexible and have high expectations. First of all, we must help our seniors graduate. We have to keep our kids engaged. We have to keep improving distance learning. We have to help them catch up. 

9:49 AM: De Blasio: Imagine you take anxiety students feel and lay over that a pandemic. So many have seen so much, the losses in their families. Our job is to help them with their mental health support. 

9:47 AM: De Blasio: Our teachers are tough. The educators in New York City are used to dealing with the toughest conditions in America. It's been inspiring.

9:45 AM: Mayor Bill de Blasio holds daily coronavirus briefing. LIVE:

9:13 AM: JetBlue is joining other carriers with requiring customers to wear a face covering when traveling. The new requirement begins May 4.


8:55 AM: The family of an emergency room doctor in upper Manhattan says she killed herself after becoming distraught over coronavirus. Dr. Lorna M. Breen, 49, was the medical director of NewYork-Presbyterian The Allen Hospital.  Her father told the NY Times that she had gotten sick at work and returned a week and a half later but was sent home by the hospital again. She later took her life while visiting her family in Charlottesville, Virginia.


7:00 AM: Watch Good Day New York at this link:

6:35 AM: The US Navy Blue Angels and the US Air Force Thunderbirds shared this tweet about the flight path for today's show over NYC, Newark, Trenton and Philadelphia.  #AmericaStrong


5:37 AM Minnesota woman is speaking out about COVID-19 after she ended up in the ICU. Melissa is 40 years old and has no pre-existing conditions. Yet, after COVID-19 sent her to the ICU, she's still fighting to breathe.


(APRIL 27, 2020 BLOG)